June 16, 5:45 PM click here to comment > 2
President Obama offers new hope on immigration reform
Yesterday President Obama took an important step toward comprehensive immigration reform by ordering a halt to the deportation of people who would have been eligible for the DREAM Act – people under 30 who were brought to the U.S. before the age of 16, have lived in the U.S. for at least five years and have either a high school diploma, G.E.D. or record of military service. For many members of our community, this new policy will be life-changing.
People affected by this new executive directive will not be offered a path to citizenship, as they would have under the DREAM Act, but they will have the opportunity to apply for a two-year work permit. Though limited in scope, this action by President Obama demonstrates his commitment to immigrant and refugee youth in our nation, and offers hope for many who have been Americans since childhood, yet face the constant threat of deportation.
The unknown at this point is the implementation and administration of the Presidential order. In the past we have seen the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement fail to follow the intent and spirit of the law, despite President Obama’s good intentions. Our Office for Immigrant and Refugee Affairs will monitor this in the weeks ahead to ensure that local offices do live up letter and spirit of this directive. Already our Director for Immigrant and Refugee Affairs, Magdaleno “Leno” Rose-Avila, is receiving calls from young immigrants wondering if they qualify and what they need to do to register.
We will update you as soon as we know more about the implementation of this new policy. In the meantime, I offer my gratitude to President Obama for overcoming partisanship to do the right thing for our young people, and the right thing for our country. I will continue to stand with our communities and President Obama in urging Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform and the full DREAM Act.
Posted by: Mayor Mike McGinn